Dairies vary widely in the amount of feed they grow on-site versus purchase, which can also vary by year. Approximately 60% of dairy feed is sourced off-farm. Given that variability, FARM ES focuses on the dairy operation itself while using feed emissions factors for feed production. The feed emissions factors take into account USDA data on typical production practices by region. Using feed emissions factors allows FARM ES to provide a holistic, cradle-to-farmgate footprint – whether feed is sourced on-site or off-site. Version 3 of FARM ES, coming in 2024, will offer dairy farms the option to enter information about their unique cropping practices. It will still use feed emissions factors for any feed sourced off-site or for farms that choose not to enter the additional data.
Various forms of cropping methods are all accounted for in the “Feed Emissions” bucket.
The “Feed Production” emissions category uses emissions factors developed following LCA methods (described in this paper). The emissions factors take into account USDA data on typical production practices by region. The amount of each ration ingredient is multiplied by the applicable emissions factor to generate the emissions footprint.
Essentially, the model makes assumption about cropping practices in each region. It does not ask about the producer’s unique practices.
The data is collected for informational purposes only at this point. It does not impact the results. The data will be used to inform future model developments.